In the coming years, as climate change takes its toll on the world, rising temperatures and lethal heatwaves could become a standard for countries like Pakistan, India, a McKinsey and Company study said.
“By 2050, under an RCP 8.5 scenario, the number of people living in areas with a nonzero chance of lethal heat waves would rise from zero today to between 700 million and 1.2 billion (not factoring in air conditioner penetration),” said the report.
“Urban areas in India and Pakistan may be the first places in the world to experience such lethal heatwaves. For the people living in these regions, the average annual likelihood of experiencing such a heat wave is projected to rise to 14 percent by 2050. The average share of effective annual outdoor working hours lost due to extreme heat in exposed regions globally could increase from 10 percent today to 10 to 15 percent by 2030 and 15 to 20 percent by 2050,” it added.
The study said that while all countries are affected by climate change, the poorest countries might be more vulnerable, as they often have climates closer to hazardous physical thresholds.
It added that lethal heat waves display less of a correlation with per capita GDP, but it should be noted that several of the countries most affected — Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, to name a few — have relatively low GDP per capita.